HC Deb 13 June 1951 vol 488 cc2270-1
4. Mr. Fitzroy Maclean

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what information he has as to the respective strengths of the eight groups of Chilean and Argentinian personnel at present in illegal occupation of British territory in the Falkland Island Dependencies.

The Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. James Griffiths)

As the reply is necessarily rather long, I shall, with the hon. Member's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Maclean

Can the Minister say approximately how many aliens are at present in occupation of British territory in these Dependencies?

Mr. Griffiths

All the details are in the reply which will appear in the OFFICIAL REPORT. If the hon. Member studies that reply and asks Questions afterwards, I shall be very glad to deal with them.

Commander Noble

Although the answer may be long, is it not likely that the figures, in their respective groups, may be rather small; and as there are adequate provisions for preventing such landings and occupations, could the Minister say why nothing has been done about it before?

Mr. Griffiths

That is another Question. I have been asked for information, and I shall give it in full detail in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Sir Peter Macdonald

May I ask why these illegal occupations have taken place only since the Socialist Party came into power? Why do they not exercise the power they have to—

Mr. Speaker

The Question asks for information and not for power to be exercised.

Following is the latest available information in each case:

Chilean parties

Greenwich Island (South Shetland Group)—six men.

Cape Legoupil (north-west tip of Grahamland)—six.

Paradise Harbour (west coast of Grahamland)—personnel not yet installed at time of visit; likely estimate ten to twelve.

Argentine parties

Laurie Island (South Orkney group)—eleven.

Deception Island (South Shetland group)—ten.

Paradise Harbour (west coast of Grahamland)—four.

Melchior Islands (Palmer Archipelago, off west coast of Grahamland)—uncertain.

Marguerite Bay (west coast of Grahamland)—the establishment of this party was announced by the Argentine Government late last Antarctic summer; independent confirmation is not yet available.